quotes_may10_2009.htm

(May 10th to 16th)



Format: Triple

‘No more for the Bisley bull?’ says the Sergeant. ‘Then go back to six hundred. The wind’s dropping! Up flags! Quick!’

‘Please, Sergeant, mayn’t I try a shot at six hundred?’ says a man newly emancipated from the Morris tube.

We do not allow men to begin even at two hundred till they are dismissed their tube-course in the village drill-shed. ‘Not yet,’ is the answer. ‘We’ll give you another turn at the Two-hundred first.

  

This is from “A Village Rifle Club” a story first published in 1901, but not collected until the Sussex Edition. It will shortly be available on this site.

It describes something that Kipling wanted to see in every village in the land, men from every class and background, farm-hands, young men about town, coastguards, clerks, learning the arts of war in order to defend their country if the need should come one day.


Ortheris suddenly rose to his knees, his rifle at his shoulder, and peered across the valley in the clear afternoon light. His chin cuddled the stock, and there was a twitching of the muscles of the right cheek as he sighted; Private Stanley Ortheris was engaged on his business. A speck of white crawled up the watercourse.

‘See that beggar? … Got ’im.’

Seven hundred yards away, and a full two hundred down the hillside, the deserter of the Aurangabadis pitched forward, rolled down a red rock, and lay very still…

   

This is from “On Greenhow Hill” in Life’s Handicap.

It is a story of the tragedy in Learoyd’s life which led him to ‘go for a soldier’ in his youth. He tells it while the ‘Soldiers Three’ are out on a hillside, hunting a deserter from a native regiment who has been firing into their camp at night. Here they spot him, and Ortheris, an expert marksman, shoots him dead.


“Here, Milligan,” the Friend called. “Fill and empty this magazine, will you, please?”

The cripple’s fingers flickered for an instant round the rifle-breech. The dummies vanished clicking. He turned towards the butt, pausing perhaps a second on each aimed shot, ripped them all out again over his shoulder. Mechanically Boy Jones caught them as they spun in the air; for he was a good fielder.

“Time, fifteen seconds,” said the Friend. “You try now.” Boy Jones shook his head. “No, thanks,” he said. “This isn’t my day out. That’s called magazine-fire, I suppose.”

“Yes,” said the Sergeant, “but it’s more difficult to load in the dark or in a cramped position.”

   

This is from “The Parable of Boy Jones” in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides.

the Village Rifle Club is practising. The best shot that windy day is Milligan, a cripple. ‘Boy’ Jones, aged 22 and a good athlete in hard condition, has come with a friend to see the riflemen and boys at work. He knows nothing of shooting, and when he tries a shot makes a fool of himself. But he realises the value of learning, and a week later he is to be found in the miniature-rifle shed, taking tips from Milligan.

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